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chiawaikian

Search results lead to malicious sites

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Links from internet search results sometimes point to web pages harbouring spyware, a study from net security firm McAfee warns. The four month study from McAfee's SiteAdvisor team on five major search engines concludes that 285m clicks to hostile sites occurs every month as a result of search queries initiated by US net users alone.

 

The investigation, which studied search results generated by Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Ask.com, found that even common search terms can lead users to risky sites.

 

Dangerous sites soared to as much as 72 per cent of results for certain popular keywords, such as "free screen savers," "digital music," "popular software," and "singers". All five search engines were capable of pointing users towards risky sites.

 

The study also finds that "sponsored" results - paid for by advertisers - are more dangerous than non-sponsored results. On average, 8.5 per cent of sponsored links were found to be dangerous against 3.1 per cent of regular search results.

 

"Search engines clearly play a critical role in internet use: As a convenient starting point for online browsing, they're estimated to account for about half of all site visits," said Chris Dixon, who heads the McAfee SiteAdvisor product team.

 

"But economically motivated purveyors of spam, adware and other online problems quickly follow where consumers go online, in this case directly to search engine results. Today, based on browsing trends, we estimate that US internet users make 285m clicks to hostile sites every month through search queries."

 

 

 

 

 

Read the whole report at:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/05/16/mc...h_risks_survey/

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It seems to me a lot of the sites Google lists to the right of its search results are questionable. A great Firefox extension that removes these and a lot of other Google ads as well as removing the frame from Google image search results is CustomizeGoogle.

 

Also the link in the article to the SiteAdvisor page doesn't work. The correct link is: SiteAdvisor.

 

Thanks chiawaikian for the info!

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I like SideAdvisor;

* http://www.siteadvisor.com/

 

It is a cool website.

 

It would be cool if the search engines punished sites that contained spyware, didnt conform to web standards, etc.

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I agree. But I bet the search engines make a fair amount of money off those sites and unless they do something that is [very] obviously destructive they don't have much incentive to not list them, unfortunately.

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